The Heart of Thomas

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The Heart of Thomas
Heart of Thomas Moto Hagio.jpg
Cover of the second volume of The Heart of Thomas.
(Tōma no Shinzō)
Written byMoto Hagio
Published byShōgakukan
English publisher
MagazineShōjo Comic
Original run19741975
Volumes3 (1 in US)
The Visitor
Written byMoto Hagio
Published byShōgakukan
Wikipe-tan face.svg Anime and Manga portal

The Heart of Thomas (Japanese: トーマの心臓, Hepburn: Tōma no Shinzō) is a shōjo manga by Moto Hagio published in 1974. It is an early example of shōnen-ai. It has been adapted into a film, Summer Vacation 1999, and a stage play. In September 2011, Fantagraphics announced that it had been licensed for English release;[1] the single-volume hardcover omnibus, translated by Rachel Matt Thorn, was released in January 2013.


Set in an all-boys boarding school in Germany. A boy named Thomas commits suicide, and he writes a letter to Juli, who Thomas has an unrequited love for. A transfer student named Eric, who looks just like Thomas, arrives.


Thomas Werner (トーマ・ヴェルナー, Tōma Verunā)
Thomas is a thirteen-year-old boy, he commits suicide at the beginning of the story, leaving a letter for Juli.
Julusmole Bayhan (ユリスモール・バイハン, Yurisumōru Baihan)
Nicknamed Juli (ユーリ, Yūri), is older than Thomas. He in fact loved Thomas, but as he had been sexually abused by his upperclassmen, he believed himself unworthy of love and pushed Thomas away.
Oscar Reiser (オスカー・ライザー, Osukā Raizā)
Is in the same grade as Juli. He acts like a delinquent, but deep down has a strong sense of responsibility for others. He is one of the few who knows about Juli's past.
Eric Fruehling (エーリク・フリューリンク, Ēriku Furyūrinku)
Is a transfer student to the school who looks like Thomas.


Although Hagio had previously been exposed to the gay lifestyle magazine Barazoku, Hagio was inspired by Les amitiés particulières to begin The Heart of Thomas as a work for her own enjoyment, and soon afterwards wrote November Gymnasium as a work to be published. At one point, Hagio considered making the protagonists girls, and drew a few scenes in a sketchbook, but decided that the boys version was "smoother" and less "giggly". When it was serialised, The Heart of Thomas was unpopular, so Hagio's editors asked her to finish the manga up quickly, but due to the success of Poe no Ichizoku in the new bound format, The Heart of Thomas was allowed to continue.[2]


In an interview, Hagio said that she felt the theme might be "When does a person learn love? When does one awake to love?"[2]


A prequel manga was written called The Visitor (訪問者).


The film Summer Vacation 1999 (1999年の夏休み, directed by Shusuke Kaneko and released in 1988, was based on The Heart of Thomas,[2] and the parts were played by girls as breeches roles, using male speech. The character in the film analogous to Thomas was renamed Yuu, and the analogue to Eric was renamed Kaoru, a gender-neutral name. The film was subsequently novelised.[3]


Studio Life, a Japanese all-male theatre troupe suggested, in approximately 1995, that they stage a production of The Heart of Thomas. As of 2005, it had been staged twice.[2]


Rachel Matt Thorn considers The Heart of Thomas to be about a "spiritual or mental love",[2] and that Hagio's later work A Savage God Reigns is the "adult version" of The Heart of Thomas.[2] Bill Randall notes Hagio's creation of several shōjo manga conventions such as the use of angelic wings.[4] Midori Matsui interprets the manga in terms of Freudian theory and regards the relationships between the characters as indicating that they live in a "closed oedipal universe as fragmented personae of the narcissistic ego".[5] For James Welker, the key theme is love, describing its depiction as "beautiful, if at times traumatic", looking at its role in the key characters' lives.[6]


  1. ^ Baehr, Mike. "Moto Hagio's Heart of Thomas coming in Summer/Fall 2012". Fantagraphics Books. Retrieved 15 September 2011.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Matt Thorn, Rachel (2005) The Moto Hagio Interview The Comics Journal 269
  3. ^ Welker, James (2006) "Beautiful, Borrowed, and Bent: "Boys' Love" as Girls' Love in Shōjo Manga" Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 31 (3): 851. doi:10.1086/498987
  4. ^
  5. ^ Matsui, Midori. (1993) "Little girls were little boys: Displaced Femininity in the representation of homosexuality in Japanese girls' comics," in Gunew, S. and Yeatman, A. (eds.) Feminism and The Politics of Difference, pp. 177–196. Halifax: Fernwood Publishing.
  6. ^

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